Alappuzha, Kerala: Disabled athlete E.D. Baburaj is determined to take part in the upcoming International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games to be held in Sochi, Russia.
To reach there the 50-year-old needs Rs.3 lakh for which he will swim the Vembanad lake here on August 18 at its widest point, which is 10 km long.
Speaking to IANS, Baburaj, who ekes out a living by selling insurance policies, said a fall, when he was 11, left his left hand totally ineffective.
"Swimming has been my passion right from my childhood and despite my disability I have represented the university and state and taken part in numerous swimming events and have won prizes," said Baburaj, who hails from Kainnakery near here, through which the Vembanad lake flows.
It was his burning desire to take part in an international swimming competition and now it has come calling on him after his entry was accepted at the IWAS Games, to be held from September 26 to October 3. He will take part in four events -- 50, 100 and 200 metres freestyle and 50m butterfly.
"On the 18th of this month, I will be crossing the Vembanad lake located on the Kumarakom-Muhama link that has a width of 10 km. This is basically done to raise as much money for my trip to Russia. I need Rs.3 lakh for travel, lodging and boarding. I am also going to seek the state government's assistance for my trip," said Baburaj, who as part of his training, swims 10 km a day.
He said unlike other swimmers, he has to take double the effort as he can swim using only one hand.
"Once I return from Russia, I have decided to help train all those who wish to learn swimming," added Baburaj.